Predicting the Winner of Each Wild Card Round Game in the 2014 NFL Playoffs
Happy NFL playoffs time everyone! This week we have four games on the slate that are bound to be epic and nail-biting. When looking to predict who should win these games you have to examine a few game-changing factors such as records at home and on the road, who is coming into the playoffs hot and who stumbled in, and finally the personnel of the two teams.
After considering all of these factors, I am going to give you four predicted winners of these games right now. Read them, analyze them, and comment back about them if you want.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
This is a rematch of a Week 16 game that saw the Indianapolis Colts manhandle the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City 23-7. The Chiefs looked nothing like the team we have come to know in 2013. The Colts ‘running game, which was not very good for most of the season, came to life thanks to Donald Brown.
In this AFC Wild Card game, I expect a very different outcome. The Chiefs had a week to heal many of their players up and should come into Indianapolis prepared. Both of these teams have not played particularly well down the stretch, but someone has to win this game. I can see Alex Smith coming through again in the playoffs — this time for the Chiefs — as well as a big game from MVP candidate Jamaal Charles. I can also see Andrew Luck having another tough playoff season against a very good Chiefs defense.
Prediction: Kansas City 31- 17 Indianapolis
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
If you enjoy watching high-flying offenses that can put points on the board on every drive then this is your game — maybe. We all know about the troubles that both of these teams went through last season. The New Orleans Saints had to deal with the suspensions of their coaching staff and had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles fired former head coach Andy Reid and replaced him with another offensive minded coach in Chip Kelly. Both of these teams had to win on the last weekend of the season to get into this matchup.
I think this NFC Wild Card game will be very different than many people figure. Both of these offenses are lethal, but I feel that it will be a hard-fought defensive game all the way through. I feel that both defenses will keep quarterbacks Drew Brees and Nick Foles in check and it will come down to a turnover in the final minutes that will decide this one.
Prediction: New Orleans 20-17 Philadelphia
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
We have another rematch of teams that played each other during Week 13. In that game, the visiting Cincinnati Bengals defeated the San Diego Chargers 17-10. Both teams’ high-powered passing attacks were held in check in Week 13, and both squads had to rely on their new-found running games.
In this AFC Wild Card game, the location has changed to frigid Ohio instead of sunny California. This will make both teams’ running games a huge factor once again. If that is the case then look for the Bengals to have the upper hand once more. I see Giovani Bernard making his playoff debut be one that makes Bengals fans thankful they drafted him last season and finally gives Andy Dalton that playoff win he has been looking for.
Prediction: Cincinnati 24-13 Chargers
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
In a rematch of last season’s Divisional Round game, the San Francisco 49ers will be headed to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. The Packers looked all but dead until Aaron Rodgers had a miraculous comeback to put his team past the Chicago Bears to win the division.
I feel that this NFC Wild Card game is going to be the game of the week. The 49ers’ offense led by Colin Kaepernick was too much for the Packers last season, and I feel more of the same will happen this season. Rodgers had a great comeback, but it will be all for nothing after this game.
Prediction: San Francisco 38-21 Packers